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I am indebted to my constant occupation for one thing, at least; it has not allowed me time to think of and mourn over my separation from those beloved friends in Virginia with whom Heaven has blessed me, and I dare not suffer myself, even at this moment, to look long that way. "Ambition should be made of sterner stuff."

I have been long convinced that there is not enough iron in my composition for a public character; I mean, for a politician aiming at glory. Nor do I regret it; for I would not exchange the sensibility which has made me so happy in my friends, for all the honors upon earth. As to those high grounds to which your partiality points me, they have no charms for me. The summit of my ambition is to make a decent provision for my children, and to leave behind me a name, at the mention of which neither they nor my friends will ever have cause to blush. The last, I trust that Heaven will give me the firmness to effect; and even as to the first, I do not despair, if my life and health shall be prolonged to the usual term.

As to the office which I have received, it was not, trust me, either the supposed honor attached to it nor any ulterior promotion to which it might be supposed to lead, that induced my acceptance. No! as there is a God in Heaven, who knows the secrets of my heart, it was the single object of bettering the fortunes of my children, by pursuing my profession on more advantageous ground. Nor would I have accepted any other office under the government, even the highest; for any other would have been utterly incompatible with what I deem my first duty-which is to provide for my household. "He that provideth not for his household is," pronounced, you know, to be "worse than an infidel." Nor am I vain and foolish enough to aim at anything higher. I am already higher than I had any reason to expect, and I should be light-headed, indeed, because I have been placed on this knoll (where I feel safe) to aspire at the mountain's pinnacle, in order to be blown to atoms. Therefore, let this matter rest.

As to Patrick, I am glad he takes in Virginia. The man must be a bungler, indeed, who could have failed, in that state, with a subject so popular. But I have been looking out for a scourging from the north. Those gentlemen will not enjoy my encomiums

on Mr. Henry. I have received some personal compliments from some of them, on the workmanship of the book, but I can see plainly enough they regard it as you tell Pleasants John Taylor, of Caroline, does" as a splendid novel." It is not wonderful that Taylor speaks of it in this light; for he is the relation of a justly eminent man, who would certainly never have added one pebble to Mr. Henry's mausoleum, and from whom I have no doubt that Col. T. has received all his impressions of Mr. Henry. I take what you say of C to be a joke; he has, however, I must confess, some little reason to be nettled-not that injustice has been done him-but that a joke, at his expense, has been recorded. But he is not mentioned by name, and his best policy will be to laugh it off.

Has the book itself reached your neighborhood? Webster has been very niggardly in the proportion of the first edition which he has allowed to Virginia. He did not give me copies enough to distribute among the contributors to the materials of the work. I designed a splendid copy for your brother Nat's eldest son, William; but Webster disappointed me. It shall, however, yet be done, either from this edition or the second, which will be out in a few months-but this you must not mention, for fear of spoiling the sale of the first. I know you are a great hand at keeping a

secret.

How are you? how is Mrs. P.? how, Lucy Ann? how, Montpelier?-not forgeting that tall pine, which I shall never forget, nor even that big-headed little fellow that stole the keys of the moon. Everything around you is dear to my recollection-all your jokes, your excellent face, your eyes, your mouth, your laugh-all as fresh as if I were a young girl thinking of my first love.

As to great men, here, and the affairs of the nation, you know enough through the public prints; and, as to private opinions, I, you know, am officially, pen-and-tongue-tied. Will you assure your family of my sincere love? Will you tell Morris, next time you see him, how much I love him, in spite of his abominable federalism? Will you assure my excellent friend Wilson, that I never smoke a pipe (which is six times a day) without thinking affectionately of him and his dearly beloved neighbours, Bullock and Price?

I wish you would go and see Clarke oftener than you have done of late years. You make him very happy when you do so—and do not, I think, make yourself very miserable-for you love Heaven's handy-works well enough to enjoy the sight, even, of those angel-faces that move through his house. Don't you mind (as the Scotch-Irish say) those days we spent there, with Ned Scott, Doct. Wooldridge and Co.? They "mind" me "of departed joys, departed" (shall I say never? no, I could not bear it, but) seldom "to return." Are you coming on here?

"But are you sure the news is true; and are you sure he's weel?"

Oh! that you would come, and give me the sweet illusion that I am yet in Virginia. But you will talk of it, and you will persuade yourself that you are coming, 'till the moment comes, when a loose shoe on Morgan Rattler, or some disorder of a girth or stirrup-leather will spoil the whole kettle of fish.

"What great effects from little causes spring?" Just as I raised my eye from the paper, here, memory gave me back our visit and dinner at Bullock's Rock-castle. I see you now dashing into the boat, at Jefferson, by the side of O'Reilly-" Shoot Luke!" And I hear that black mimic at Jefferson, and the original, "I'll be dab'd, if I don't." And

"Did you hear the sweet tones of her voice?

Why did she marry him? Why did she marry him?"

And then our re-crossing the river to poor good Mead's.

scenes.

*

You cannot conceive with what childish tenderness I recall these But the "pleasures of memory" will soon be all that are left me. I was going to add, "or you either," but I just remember that, like the soul, you "flourish in immortal youth." Happy, happy, thrice happy man! happy in all who know you on earth, and happy, I verily believe, in the approbation of all who know you above with the exception of "that vile, nefarious County of Goochland." Here is another security that you will not expose the folly of this letter. You see I am already a managing politician.

VOL. 2-7

What occurrence was that which took place at Major Price's door, on your return from the theatre? I would thank you to write it, because my recollection of particulars is becoming indistinct since I crossed the Potomac.

thousand dollars.

Excuse all this levity, my dear Pope, for I am really laughing to keep myself from crying, as cowards whistle in the dark. Whether I shall find the practice of the law profitable here I do not know, as yet. The salary, you know, is very low, only three There is a talk of raising it. I wish it may not end in talk. As to the other business in the Supreme Court, I have as yet only eight or ten causes; but I have a prospect of more in the course of the approaching court, and the fees are good.

If I could flatter myself with the pleasure of seeing you now and then, I should be much better reconciled to my change of residence. You and Dabney will be here in February, when I shall be too busy to enjoy your company to the full pitch. But could not you make one trip every spring or summer? Then I shall be a freeman and I will have a room always at your command. Then too, you will see this place in its best dress; I mean Washington and the surrounding scenery. A beautiful place it is, I promise you, in the spring or summer. I shall have leisure to ride with you to all the surrounding heights which overlook Georgetown, Washington, Alexandria, and the seats on the Potomac as low down as Mt. Vernon; and I will carry you to Bladensburg, the place of my nativity; shew you the house in which I was born; the Spa-bath in which I was very near being drowned at two years of age; the house at which I went to school, at three; the battle-ground during the late war, &c. And if you come next summer, you will probably see a seventy-four gun ship launched, which you will find on the stocks, next month, at our navy yard. "What a great nation we are," and how much greater we will be, if we hold on as we have begun! Shall we not be the greatest nation in the world-except six?

I have prattled to you full as long as my duties will permit. So, after begging you to give my love to every man, woman and child, you hear speak kindly of me, I bid you farewell, and pray God to bless you. Man and boy, from the year 1798, (when first I

saw you) which is twenty-six years this summer, I have been, with constant love, and ever shall be,

Your friend,

WM. WIRT.

Another letter of advice to Gilmer, who, after meditating a removal to Baltimore, had suddenly changed his purpose and gone to Richmond. A rule of the Baltimore bar which required three years residence in the State, imposed a condition with which Gilmer could not comply, and thus compelled him to relinquish a design, the fulfilment of which, we may suppose, should have been not less desirable to the community of Baltimore, than it would have been profitable to the individual who sought to establish himself there.

MY DEAR FRANCIS:

TO FRANCIS W. GILMER.

WASHINGTON, January 20, 1818.

I answered your letter from Winchester on the morning after its receipt. The rapidity with which you have executed your removal to Richmond, satisfies me that you were just in the temper of Pope's wife of Bath, when she consulted her friends. He says

"She did as commonly is done,

Heard their advice, and took-her own."

That is to say, that your measure was resolved on, before you consulted me, by letter, at least. From your talk in Richmond, I had not expected so Bonapartean a dash; and, in truth, from the time you left us I was so incessantly, and, with such anxious mind, engaged in hastening my escape from the ice, that I could not think, with ordinary foresight, of any other object. Since my arrival here I can give you no idea of the bustle, the confounding variety of engagements, which shut out every subject not connected with the comfortable establishment of my wife and children, or the throwing off of the accumulated load of official duties. The answer I gave you was the earliest I could have given you;

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